US energy policy has surged to the top of the list for both political parties. But there appear to be a variety of motivations for concern.

At one end of the spectrum there are many who are concerned about carbon fuel’s contribution to global warming. Others, including those who question the science supporting fossil fuel impact on global climate change, voice the US’s vulnerability to global energy suppliers.

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Both campaigns have used the ‘energy independence’ soundbite as shorthand for a path that leads to lower prices at the gas pump as well as increased national and economic security.

In Palo Alto, Sand Hill Road’s venture capitalists have been backing a variety of renewable energy technologies. In the same way that many early tech companies benefited from US defence spending, energy-related technology companies, especially ‘clean tech’ companies, are likely to benefit from direct spending as well as tax and regulatory incentives – regardless of the party in the White House and Congress.

The growth in energy demand comes from more than transport and emerging economies. Thanks to ubiquitous texting as well as commercial information traffic, in 2010 as much as 3% of all global electricity will be used to power the world’s expanding number of data centres. For site selectors, power trumps labour when deciding where to put these centres. Companies with new approaches to energy supply as well as energy conservation will be on the investment attraction shortlists in virtually every part of the US and beyond.

Daniel Malachuk works with business and government leaders on global direct investment strategies. He has advised many of the world’s leading companies and served in the public sector as director of White House operations.

E-mail: daniel.malachuk@gmail.com